7 Months in: Where do we stand with ICD-10?

The date all of us in healthcare revenue cycle and health information management were waiting for came and passed. It was the big storm that we all had prepared for. Over the course of the last couple of years and particularly the last 8 months of 2015, we all trained, practiced, tested, upgraded, and dual-coded in anticipation. Everyone in the industry was pointing to previous ICD-10 transitions around the world and fearing that we would see 30 to 50% loss in productivity.

Leading up to 10/1/15, there was a frenzy to add as much additional staff through new hires and staff augmentation as possible across the country. Health systems and staffing companies alike were investing in educating their employees and increasing compensation to keep them working at their organization. Midnight came and went, bringing us to October and all the preparation kicked in. Anxiously watching backlogs and work queues, the industry waited to see when the productivity impact would begin to cause those key metrics to start creeping up.

We are now a quarter into 2017, and staffing levels across health systems have started to swing back towards ICD-9 levels as a reaction to the overstaffed departments of 2016. The exact equilibrium has yet to be found but it certainly isn’t going to be the doom and gloom predicted. Some of the impact may have been lessened by insurance companies not requiring the specificity of ICD-10 and still paying claims with the more generic family level of codes. So even though things seem calm now, we are looking ahead to when the CMS grace period expires. Will the revenue impact of ICD-10 continue to be less than anticipated or will the other shoe drop on 10/1/17 with increases in claim denials? Only time will tell.

Chris Camp, PMP, CHPS



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